George N. M.

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About George N. M.

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    NE Colorado
  • Interests
    Blacksmthing, camping, hiking, historical reenactment

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  1. George N. M.

    Seax Question

    Also, there was a belief across many cultures that an item in grave goods had to be "killed" so that it could be used by the deceased on the other side. A spirit could not use a tangible object and a living person could not use an item that had been "killed" and rendered unusable. Evidence of this is often seen in pottery items that have a hole punched in them and in bent weapons. I suspect that this is a more probable explanation than postmortem security or fear of retribution in the afterlife.
  2. George N. M.

    Suburbanite Shop

    A couple of things that you or anyone else might want to consider are: A. Storage and amount of propane. Some municipalities and HOAs may restrict the storage of flammable gases above a certain amount. Usually, a couple 20 pound BBQ size tanks are OK but larger amounts may be restricted by local fire codes. This is one of the reasons that some folk go to natural gas fired forges. Also, a forge may draw a small tank down fast enough that the remaining liquid drops beneath its vapor pressure (freezes up) and will not supply fuel until it warms up. I have had that happen with small tanks but not larger ones. That is one of the reasons that I tend to use a coal/coke forge. B. This should not be a problem with you but I include it for the interest of others: In some locations air pollution regulations may restrict the use of solid fuel forges. I suggest that a person actually check the language of the local air quality law because there may be some interesting loop holes. Some places may prohibit wood or coal fuels but that does not include coke or charcoal. Others may restrict "solid fuels." I am in an urban residential area and switched to coke as a fuel when I moved here so that I wouldn't be putting out coal smoke which might impact the neighbors. In 20+ years no one has complained. C. As previously mentioned, pounding on hot metal should not generate significant noise problems. The hot iron deadens the ring of an anvil. Avoid the habit some smiths have of bouncing the hammer on the anvil to pause between blows on the hot metal. I, personally, have always found that annoying and wasteful of time and energy but there are some who learned that way and do it without thought and not to do so would be interrupting and restricting in the flow of their work. Power tools like saws and grinders are a much more significant source of noise problems with the neighbors. So is working cold metal, particularly sheet metal which will bang and ring. You may have to get imaginative if that is an issue for you. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  3. George N. M.

    Reference Contract for Demonstrator Needed

    Basically, a legally enforceable contract is an agreement, written or oral, that binds one or more people to do something that they are not otherwise legally required to do. It can be called a "Memorandum of Understanding," "Letter of Agreement," or anything else but that is the basic definition of a contract. In your case you can just have a couple of sentences saying that the demonstrator agrees to demonstrate at a particular place and time for X hours and the group agrees to pay him X dollars. That is the basic contract. You can add anything else such as indemnification for any injuries, travel costs, meals, etc. but the action an payment are the basic elements of a contract. In some states a legal contract must have some kind of compensation even if it is 1 dollar. I suggest that someone ask the demonstrator what he wants tied down. Contracts are to set out what both parties expect and what happens in the 1% of the cases when something goes wrong. I hope this helps. George M. Colorado Attorney Registration #16972 "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  4. George N. M.

    Ceremonial US Navy Rivet Tongs

    There were only 2 of the Raven class minesweepers built prior to WW II but they were succeeded by the similar, but slightly larger Auk class of which 95 were built during WW II. There are still 2 Auk class ships still in commission in the Philippine navy. Since the tongs are dated on the date the keel of the ship was laid I suspect that they were used for the first rivet. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  5. Dear Darin, I'm making the assumption that you are a fairly young man. So, I will put this bit of advice in millennial generation and later terms: Much of learning to be a smith is similar to learning how to play a video game, development of hand/eye coordination. There are lots of other bits of knowledge like properties of steel or what tools do what but the basic physical act of forging steel is learning the hand/eye coordination and muscle memory. No different than learning which button or lever to push on a video game controller to do what. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  6. Dear Darin, You can start teaching yourself. Many experienced smiths did not have a mentor or classes. We started with a way to get steel hot (a forge), something to hit it with (a hammer), and something to back up the hitting (an anvil). There are good books around and some good Your Tube videos. Do not take everything you see on the internet on faith, though. There are some pretty goofy things out there. Just feeling how the hot metal reacts under your hammer and developing the coordination and muscle memory to hit where you want and how hard is a lot of learning black smithing. Good luck. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  7. George N. M.

    Roman anvils

    Dear Linz, I am assuming that there are You Tube videos of mail making since there are videos of everything else. I will describe how I make nails so that you have an idea of how it works. I don't make nails often because I once took an order for 500 and since then nail making is not fun for me. First, you need a nail header which has one or more square tapered holes in it. (The taper is from the bottom up. That is, the hole is slightly wider at the bottom than the top. This is so the nail is less likely to stick in the header.) The nail header is a separate hand held piece of steel. The nail is made by heating a square piece of stock and then hammering a point on it. This is usually done on the edge of the anvil so that there is a shoulder at the end of the tapered point. Without a shoulder there is a tendency just to hammer the nail through the hole of the header rather than upsetting the head. The nail is then cut off the stock a bit above the shoulder. This is often done with a hot cutter set in the hardie hole. Usually, the nail is not completely cut off so that the nail can be inserted into the header and the rest of the stock can be twisted off leaving the nail in the header with the un-upset head above the header. Then the nail head is flattened down on the header. Finally, the nail is knocked out of the header either by inverting the header and banging it on the edge of the anvil or tapping it out from the bottom with a hammer. If you are good and have the right muscle memory you can do this in one, or at most two, heats. It is harder to describe than actually do. I still think that it is unlikely that the hole in the anvil was intended to be primarily a nail of spike header. ""By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  8. George N. M.

    Roman anvils

    Having a hole in the anvil as a nail header strikes me as impractical rather than a separate tool because of the difficulty in removing the nail after it is headed. Often the nail has to be tapped out of the header from the bottom. It strikes me that this would be difficult if the nail was down in the anvil. Also, just making a hole in the anvil for this purpose would be much more difficult than making a nail header. Occam's Razor would argue that the hole is a pritchel hole or a tool holding site. Also, the hole is round while the roman nails I have seen have all been square (when they were not too rusted to tell the original shape.) Possibly a bit of experimental archaeology is called for. BTW, what is the diameter of the hole? "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  9. George N. M.

    Tongs versus vice grips

    I recently came across a variation which may have some of the best of both worlds. They were on the clearance rack at the True Value hardware store for $4.99 each. They are True Value house brand, made in China. Thomas, these would eliminate the problem of having the spring too close to the heat and risking drawing the temper.
  10. It is always a good idea to keep rain and snow away from your coal because besides the problems of trying to burn a wet fuel some types of coal can "slake," that is, deteriorate mechanically into smaller pieces in the presence of water. If you have ever seen an old coal pile it may well have slaked down to fragments the size of pea gravel or smaller. The very first fuel I used in a forge was some nasty old slaked sub-bituminous coal. Very unpleasant. Little coking and lots of burning bits flying around plus lots of clinker. This can be a problem in open pit mines or road cuts which cut through coal seams. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  11. George N. M.

    Sword ID

    About 35-40 years ago I came across a guy who had imported a number of swords from Sudan. I bought this one (IIRC I paid about $100). It originally had a typical Sudanese wooden, leather wrapped hilt with a leather disk pommel. I wanted a more European looking sword and removed the Sudanese hilt, drew out the tang a bit and added a disk pommel with the tang riveted on the top of the pommel . Today I would have left it original but I was younger and had different values and priorities. I have always suspected that it is a European blade which was exported to Africa. This is because of the double headed eagle engraved on both sides of the blade. I seriously doubt that a Sudanese craftsman would have used infidel imagery, particularly the Christian cross on the single crown above the eagle. The double headed eagle has been used by various European countries and houses including the Byzantines, the Hapsburg Austrians, and the Russian Romanovs amongst others. The blade is 34" long and the cross guard (I guess Sudanese origin) is 6 1/4". The fuller runs the entire length of the blade. It appears that the eagle has been on the blade for a long time because the engraving is worn off the high parts of the blade on the edge of the fuller. It would take a lot of drawing in an out of a scabbard to wear the steel down. Does anyone have any thoughts on the origin or age of this blade? "By hammer and hand all arts do stand"
  12. The geologic version of the Peter Principle is, "The clods sink to the top." "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  13. To add a bit to my story illustrating the maintenance issue, the mining operation was connected to a mill which processed and upgraded the ore before it was shipped. There were none of the maintenance problems in the mill operation that were present in the mine. I think that part of the problem was the competence of the management. The company was headquartered and had most of it's operations in the mid-west. I suspect that the Colorado operation was corporate Siberia. If they had a marginal manager that they didn't want to fire, for whatever reason, they would send him to Colorado where the damage he could do to the entire company was minimal compared to him being at one of the larger operations in the mid-west.
  14. George N. M.

    Good steels for fire steels

    Generally, I've had good luck with garage door springs but experiment first. There are some springs that have odd alloys that do not harden well. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  15. Dear Kozzy, You bring up a factor that has always puzzled me, the lack of recognition that maintenance is cheap and repairs/replacement is expensive. I once worked at a series of flourite mines and the managements philosophy regarding machinery was to run it until it breaks then fix it the cheapest way possible and if that wasn't an option buy the cheapest used replacement. If they had had the sense to here a maintenance tech to walk around all day with a grease gun and a wrench their costs would have gone down and the production would have gone up. I worked there just after being on active duty in the US Army where every piece of equipment had a maintenance log and preventive maintenance on everything form your individual weapon on up was a command emphasis. I was too junior to make any changes or even raise the subject but I have seen similar problems since. It always seems counter-intuitive to me. On a smaller scale there can be a similar problem in our shops. Lots of people ignore the need to keep moving parts lubricated. I remember Francis Whittaker requiring that all blowers, etc. be oiled every day before lighting the forge. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."